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Bushfire claims top Black Saturday losses

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Bushfire losses from this season’s catastrophes have climbed toward $2 billion, an update to Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) figures today shows.

ICA says losses from the catastrophe declared in November have reached $1.9 billion from 23,362 claims received.

The estimate for fires that have burned in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and SA has risen from a January 23 figure of $1.65 billion and surpasses the $1.76 billion in losses from Black Saturday in 2009, based on normalised dollars

ICA declared its first bushfire season catastrophe in September when unusually early fires in northern NSW and Queensland caused losses of $37 million. Further fires in October led to additional losses of $19 million.

Australia’s worst bushfire disaster by insurance losses remains the Ash Wednesday catastrophe in 1983, which destroyed some 3700 buildings.

The fires in Victoria and South Australia in February that year caused combined losses of $2.3 billion, calculated on normalised dollars.